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10 August 2021

“I’ve gotta get thru this [service assessment]”

Rachel Abbott

An image of the cover of a CD by Daniel Bedingfield for the track Gotta Get Thru This

Like many people, I’m on LinkedIn. Whether you love it or hate it (I’m leaning slightly more towards the latter), it can undoubtedly be useful for finding good people to recruit into your roles, or finding your next job. I, along with many others, get a constant sprinkle of job offers from recruiters and agencies. As I am currently happily employed at Hippo, these requests result in a polite “thanks, but no thanks” — but the other day I received the job message below:

A screenshot from a message received by Rachel, a user researcher, from a recruiter. It says “get through GDS assessments”.

One of the requirements of this recruiter, and by inference their client, was apparently “Getting through GDS assessments”. Now, this could just be clumsily worded, however, I am going to take it at face value for the purpose of this blog.

If you’re part of a Government service team, of course, you want to ‘get through’ your assessment. The aim is to assess your service against the GDS Service Standard to “help teams create and operate good public services”. We all want to build good public services, and we want the hard work that has gone in during discovery, alpha or beta to be worth it.

A panel of experts will offer a peer review of the work you’ve done to date, your user journeys, the problem you’re trying to solve and the wider context; to help you understand anything you’ll need to change or improve.

An image of a dictionary definition of the phrase “get through”. The definition is to pass a difficult or testing experience or period.

The term “get through” implies passing for the sake of passing — a ‘tick box’ formality if you will. It sounds akin to going to the dentist, something unpleasant, but necessary nonetheless.

We should want to pass a service standards assessment so we are confident we have done the best for our users and we are building the right thing. We should not want to pass purely for the accolade itself. And conversely, not meeting the service standard the first time does not mean your team has failed, or your service is doomed. This blog from GDS talks about how it’s important to remember that though service is being assessed, the panel is also there to help the service team in building a good service for citizens.

“I have led many service assessments. Some services have met the standard first time. Some haven’t. But often services that don’t meet all the points of the standard first time go on to be exceptional services as they have been able to take on recommendations from a panel of peers.”
– Gill Elderfield, Head of Assurance Support

Anyway, back to the original point of this post. If you’re trying to recruit people who are truly user-centred, passionate about delivering high-quality services and care about their work — ‘getting through a GDS assessment’ is probably not that high on their priority list.

If you’d like to talk to us about working at Hippo and the roles we have available — get in touch